The driving other cars extension on a private car policy is one which allows the policyholder to be covered whilst driving a car which is not owned by, registered, or leased to them under a hire purchase agreement.
The extension covers the policyholder only and does not apply to any named drivers and the cover provided is third party only, meaning any damage caused by the driver to the vehicle they are travelling in is not covered.
This extension is designed only to be of use in emergency situations, in order to prevent the misuse of the extension. If a person requires the use of a vehicle they should be added onto the insurance policy of that vehicle rather than relying on their own policy to cover them in the event of an accident.
In order for the driving other cars extension to be effective certain criteria need to be met:
- The car does not belong to the driver and is not hired to them under a hire purchase agreement;
- The car is being driven with the owners expressed consent;
- The policyholder still has their vehicle and it has not been ‘written-off’;
- The policyholder is aged 25 or over;
- The policyholder’s specific motor insurance certificate expressly stipulates they have the driving other cars extension;
- The vehicle they are looking to drive is itself insured;
- The policyholder’s occupation is not connected with the motor trade or an occupation which requires them to regularly drive other vehicles.
The driving other cars extension cannot be used to secure the release of a vehicle which has been seized by the authorities for being used, or driven, on the roads without any valid insurance.
There is a common misconception amongst policyholders who think that because they are aged 25 or older and have comprehensive motor insurance they automatically have the driving other cars extension.This has led to numerous people gaining convictions for driving without insurance.
Watch our Wise Owl video series to see more motor insurance myths corrected. In this video we answer the question: "Can I drive anybody's car if I have fully comp insurance?"
An insurer is likely to revoke the extension if the policyholder is too young, or has not had a full driving licence for a set period of time. Insurers are sometimes reluctant to offer the extension if the policyholder has a European or International licence as they may not be fully used to the style and rules of driving in the UK. Also, if the policyholder has a bad driving history, in terms of claims and/or motoring convictions, the insurance company are more than likely to rescind the driving other cars extension to help minimise the risk of them having to pay out for a claim under this extension.
If a driver does legitimately use their driving other cars extension to drive another person’s vehicle, and they are involved in an accident in which they are deemed ‘at fault’ the insurance company of the policyholder driving, rather than that of the vehicle, will be responsible for the claim.
The driving other cars extension is also not exclusive to comprehensive motor insurance policies and it can, dependent on the insurance company, be offered on third party, fire & theft policies, and third party only. Regardless of the level of cover which the policyholder has, the cover provided to them under the driving other cars extension will always be third party only (unless stated otherwise in the policy documents). As well as traditional private car insurance policies, most motorcycle policies also have the driving other motorcycles extension which works in a similar way to that of private cars. However, there are likely to be higher restrictions on the extension under a motorcycle policy than that of a private car policy. For example, the bikes that you are allowed to ride under the extension are likely to be restricted to bikes of the same or lower cubic centilitre (cc) than the bike that they are currently insured to ride on. This is so a rider who is insured on a 250cc motorcycle is unable to ride their friend’s 1,000cc motorcycle as they will not be used to the power and handling.
This extension is rarely available for van and commercial vehicle insurance policies due mainly to the high amounts of variation in commercial vehicles and the opportunity to use the vehicles for commercial use.
If you do have a policy which permits you to drive another person’s vehicle it is always worth double-checking with your insurance company if there are any stipulations or endorsements which have been applied to your policy. Most insurers will apply territorial limits when driving on the driving other cars extension which will usually be limited to the United Kingdom, the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey and Isle of Man.